Palauans flying to Taiwan will go through quarantine like every other traveler. This is despite the travel bubble arrangement between these two countries dubbed by Palau as the “Sterile Corridor”.

Palauans who fly into Taiwan for medical attention are mandated to undergo quarantine. Referral Patients escorts will also undergo strict quarantine in isolated hospital rooms and are not allowed to go out even to the convenient stores within the hospital building. “As an escort, I was not allowed to leave that hospital room that I was quarantined in. I was not even allowed to accompany the patient I was escorting to her appointments. The nurses would just come and take the patient to conduct her medical operations while I was isolated in the hospital room completing the quarantine period. Ng bai di diak kukerang e di chelseches ra quarantine. Bai dimlak a belkul el kmei” said an escort who asked to remain unnamed.

Another group of Palauan travelers to Taiwan this year were students. Aside from the Palauan students under PNSB, the scholarship students were divided into 2 teams and departed Palau on the 22nd and 29th of September this year. Upon their arrival in Taiwan, they went through 2 weeks of total isolation alone in quarantine hotel rooms. In an interview with students in Taiwan, Island Times was informed that the quarantine cost 96.15 dollars per day (2,500 New Taiwan dollars) totaling to 1,442 dollars or (37,500 New Taiwan Dollars NTD) a cost of their quarantine for 15 days.

Under strict quarantine mandates, the students go through self-health management also at hotels for additional seven days. The extra 7 days were arranged for $46.15(1,200NTD)per day amounting to 325 dollars (8,400 NTD) for the week

At this week’s press conference, Minister Victor stated that he has a child who also got a scholarship and left for Taiwan this year. Victor said, “My child’s quarantine was paid for in full by the scholarship”. In an interview with students in Taiwan, they confirmed that quarantines are paid for those students in ICDF scholarships. However, 10 out of 16 scholarships who left for Taiwan last September are still paying for their quarantine costs.

Palauan students all live in dormitories and are not allowed to cook their meals at their dorms; therefore are given 423 dollars (11,000 New Taiwan Dollars) once a month in stipends to buy their 3 meals a day seven days a week as well as there any other necessities. As for now, $203.85 (5,300 NTD) is reserved from their stipends to pay for their quarantine costs therefore they only receive half of their stipends every month which is a total of $219.23 (5,700 NTD) for their daily meals and necessities. In the interview, the students stated “we are thankful nevertheless because MOFA scholarship was able to pay $769.23 (20,000 NTD) so it lowered what we had to pay. With that, we will continue to pay every month and our last payment will be made at the end of December when our stipends come out”.

In answer to questions from the media, the president said, referring to the students that “I didn’t know we were paying for quarantine”. Whipps also stated about referral patients and their escort’s quarantine that   “Of course there are ongoing talks with the embassy and that’s one of the issues between us and Taiwan” stated President Whipps.

The Travel Bubble between Palau and Taiwan was inaugurated at the beginning at these have been postponed many times within the same year, travellers from Palau isolated in Taiwan quarantine is yet another hurdle for this highly decorated travel arrangement. (By: Island Times team)

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